Posted at 8:56 AM on April 23, 2012
by Paul Huttner
60s today across most of Minnesota
70s Tuesday & Wednesday
Scattered showers & T-Storms return Tuesday night & Wednesday
14 hours of daylight this week in Minnesota
2-3 minutes per day of additional daylight this week
August 20th - sun is as intense as mid-late August this week
8 tornadoes - SPC "preliminary" tornado count for Minnesota Saturday
(2 in Iowa)
Biggest "outbreak" in Minnesota since June 17, 2010?
"Hybrid" tornadoes observed Saturday?
Break out the weather metaphors today. Our "spring-tacular" start to the week is brought to you by High Pressure. Now if we can just get the timing right with sun for the weekend, rain at night, everybody will be happy. Maybe in my next meteorological life.
Look for plenty of sun early Monday, but a veil of clouds may seep in this afternoon and filter our sun at times this afternoon and evening. I can't rule out a stray shower from the metro north & east tonight as an upper level wave rolls through.
Tuesday and Wednesday should bring the mildest weather in days, as temps push into the 70s south.
A clipper like low pressure system riding through will bring a chance at showers Tuesday night into early Wednesday. Again, it looks like the best shot at showers will be north & east of the metro, along a Duluth to Eau Claire line.
Cooler breezes late week:
Canadian high pressure will nose south Thursday into the weekend, and bring cooler temps along with. The high will battle another wave of low pressure Friday, as some attempted showers try and fight their way into southern Minnesota. If the high wins, the showers may be held south of the metro Friday. If not, expect a wet end to the week.
Right now the weekend looks mainly sunny, seasonably cool and pretty darn nice. We could see a touch of frost Saturday & Sunday morning, but that's pretty typical for the last weekend in April. Average date of last 32 degree temp at MSP? April 29th.
Highs should stay in the upper 50s Saturday, but may mellow into the 60s Sunday.
We may actually get the timing right on weekend sun for a change!
Summer in no hurry:
Looking ahead, next week looks seasonable for the first week of May. (Can you believe it's May already next week?) A "zonal flow" may bring a couple of low pressure systems spinning through, so it looks wet and potentially stormy next week. We need the rain, so that's not all bad.
Right now there are no signs of a big steroidal high pressure ridge, or early season heat wave ahead. That's probably a good thing, we need to ease into summer this year, and avoid deepening an already bad drought situation.
Saturday Tornadoes: A rare breed of "hybrid" storm?
You may have noticed I was busy updating the blog and keeping our MPR news staff abreast of some breaking weather news for Minnesota Saturday PM. It was an unusual day to say the least. Here are some of the quirky things that happened Saturday.
-No SPC "risk area" for Minnesota
-No tornado SPC tornado watches
-One "mesoscale discussion" highlighting the potential for small tornadoes
-8 tornadoes touched down in Minnesota Saturday (SPC preliminary storm reports)
If the total of 8 tornadoes stands, it's the biggest number of tornadoes in a single day since the big May 17th, 2010 "super outbreak" in Minnesota that spawned a record 48 tornadoes.
Tornado sightings poured in from Clay, Wilkin, Otter Tail, Chippewa, Redwood, Swift and Douglas Counties Saturday.
Some damage was reported, and most of the tornadoes seemed to be thin "rope" or "needle" type funnels.
Saturday was an unusual day, synoptically speaking. A fairly strong low pressure system was dumping up to 6" of snow in the cold air over the Iron Range, and a chilly rain in the metro.
In the back side of the system, strong April sunshine generated enough heating to trigger a few "low topped" thunderstorms rising into the spinning atmosphere near the low.
It was just the right mix of spin, heating, and instability to produce some small, non-classic supercell type rotating thunderstorms...that went on to spin out several "weak" (probably EF0-EF1) tornadoes.
Saturday's twisters were what you might call "Hybrid Cold Air/Supercell Tornadoes" (my term). It's common in springtime to get so called "cold air funnels" twisting down from the sky when low pressure spins overhead, but the atmosphere is too cool to produce the classic "supercell thunderstorms."
But Saturday's storms had a little more organization on radar. They actually looked more like mini discreet, rotating supercell type storms...on a much smaller scale. The tornadoes Saturday had more "oomph" and gusto than your typical "cold air funnels."
Who knows, maybe we're entering a bizarre new weather world in Minnesota where new types of storms will form given a warming climate, and a northern latitude.
Whatever it was, I can tell you this. Saturday was one of the rarest and most interesting weather days I have ever observed in 30 years of covering Minnesota weather.
Posted at 1:01 PM on April 23, 2012
by Paul Huttner
So you want to be a severe weather spotter?
Here's your chance.
Metro Skywarn conducts training classes this time fo year to help train severe weather spotters to feed info to the NWS in storm situations. Here's how to get involved.
It's a beautiful summer evening and you're filing into Target Field to watch the Twins. Or, you're rocking to Bono and U2...and dancing in the rain as lightning flashes all around you on a summer night at TCF Bank Stadium.
Maybe you're in the seats watching the St. Paul Saints at Midway Stadium. Or perhaps you're tailgating before a Vikings game on a humid early September Sunday, or taking in the Gophers at TCF Bank Stadium on a warm September Saturday.
What do you do if a tornado approaches? Where do you go as a damaging line of thunderstorms with an 80 mph gust front is racing toward you? How close does the lightning have to get before you react? When does the stadium "sound the alarm?"
Your advance planning and actions in the minutes and seconds before the storm hits may determine if your survive, are seriously injured, or safe.
The answers to the best plan are complicated, and may change depending on exactly where you are, and what stadium personnel do in the minutes and seconds before life threatening severe weather strikes.
There may be no "one size fits all" answer.
The best thing you can do? Hopefully you know severe weather or tornadoes are a possibility before you head outdoors into a public arena.
As you enter the stadium, park, baseball field etc, think about where you would go if a tornado hit. Where is the closest safe shelter? Are there any obstacles in the way? Does it make sense to react early, and get to a relatively safe place and wait to see if the storms actually hits?
Ideally, severe weather preparedness is in the hands of the individual. Your own "situational awareness" can save your life and the lives of those around you.
My biggest fear? An EF3 tornado bearing down on Target Field or TCF Bank Stadium packed with 40,000 fans, and nobody sounds the alarm to get to safe shelter until it's too late because "the game must go on."
Hopefully, the stadium or location has an effective plan for getting you and other fans to safe shelter. But as you'll see in the piece from the Des Moines Register below, complications can arise in any severe weather situation.
Here's an excerpt:
Weather reports showed strong storms and the possibility of tornadoes headed toward Des Moines last Saturday night, and Bob Swanson, head of security at the Iowa Events Center, wanted his staff prepared.
The Iowa Barnstormers arena football team was playing that night. He called a morning meeting to make sure everyone was up to speed on evacuation procedures, nearby tornado shelters and crowd management if things got rough.
That night, though, as with many emergencies, circumstances threw a curveball: The fire alarm went off, and an automated public address message told fans to head for the exits -- just as the teeth of a thunderstorm and damaging high winds bore down on the capital city.
Next time you head out to an outdoor event of any kind, please have an idea if severe weather is a threat before you go. Then take a minute to think about where you will go if the worst happens. Anything else is gravy.